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Florida’s Mangroves Expand Up State’s Atlantic Coast

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BIG PINE KEY, FL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Phillip Hughes an Ecologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspects dead buttonwood trees as live mangrove trees grow nearby after the buttonwood over a recent period of time has succumbed to salt water incursion on September 11, 2013 in Big Pine Key, Florida. As sea levels rise scientists continue to observe the changes in the vegetation which Hughes said, over the last 50 years has seen the Florida Keys upland vegetation dying off and being replaced by salt tolerant vegetation. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

BIG PINE KEY, FL – SEPTEMBER 11: Phillip Hughes an Ecologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspects dead buttonwood trees as live mangrove trees grow nearby after the buttonwood over a recent period of time has succumbed to salt water incursion on September 11, 2013 in Big Pine Key, Florida. As sea levels rise scientists continue to observe the changes in the vegetation which Hughes said, over the last 50 years has seen the Florida Keys upland vegetation dying off and being replaced by salt tolerant vegetation. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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MIAMI (AP) — Florida’s mangroves are moving further up the state’s east coast, the latest indicator of global climate change.

CBS4’s news partner’s at the Miami Herald reports Florida’s Atlantic coast gained more than 3,000 acres of mangroves in the past three decades. That’s according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Scientists documented the mangrove growth by looking at satellite images from 1984 to 2011.

Brown University postdoctoral researcher Kyle Cavanaugh says that while there are examples of climate changing having a negative impact, this could be different. The mangroves are replacing salt marshes, but both are important and highly productive coastal systems.

Cavanaugh says scientists must determine what the changes mean for Florida’s ecosystem but are likely no cause for alarm.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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